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The hottest interior design ideas, fab finds for the home and buying advice. We're always looking for new finds, designers to feature or anything else lovely for the home, so if you've seen something gorgeous and would like it featured in our interior design magazine, please get in touch!

10 Ways with…Wallpaper

wallpaper
Darly Wallcoverings: Darly Indigo wallpaper, £43 per 10m roll, with Orbit three-seater sofa, from £1750 (excluding fabric), and Manari rug, £950, Designers Guild [www.designersguild.com]

Wallpaper is having a revival, with a huge diversity of patterns coming to the market, and in the range of applications they're now put in interior design.

With so many styles available and in such a versatile material, it would be shame to stop with the walls. So here are our tips on working those prints and getting the most from your wallpaper.

1. Alcoves

Wallpapering in alcoves is a great way to create a feature wall in your room, adding interest and depth to your decorative scheme. If you’ve got two alcoves either side of a fireplace, papering both and adding a console table in each with a lamp to highlight the wallpaper is a great look. Placing a chair in the alcove, upholstered in a complementary fabric, is another way to enhance the wallpaper and develop your scheme. If you have shelves in your alcove papering the back wall or even the back of the bookcase creates a great backdrop for books and accessories.

2. Lining wardrobe doors

Lift your spirits in the morning and give your clothes a treat by lining the inside of your wardrobe with beautiful printed wallpaper. You can really go all out, choosing a bold pattern or bright colours, without worrying about the wallpaper matching the rest of your room. And there’s something enchanting about a hidden surprise, even if your wardrobe is crammed with boring work clothes. If the doors have beading on the outside, papering within these panels will create a feature of your wardrobe.

3. Covering lampshades

Papering a tired lampshade is a simple way to introduce pattern and colour to your scheme. Mix your wallpaper paste with a dollop of PVA glue to make sure it won’t peel off with the heat of the bulb. Play with different combinations of complementary or contrasting papers for the inside and outside of your lampshade. Choosing a paper in the same pattern but a different colourway to go on the inside of the shade is a great look, particularly if you’re papering a pendant shade. If you’re papering walls in your room, a lampshade in the same paper will help to draw together your design.

wallpaper
Nabucco Wallcoverings: Sussex wallpaper, £43 per 10m roll, Designers Guild [www.designersguild.com]

4. MDF Panels

Wallpapered panels look great either mounted on the wall itself or leaning against it. A collection of panels in varying sizes and prints against a wall makes a lively feature. Ply or MDF can also be used to create a simple room divider with hinged panels. Use a different pattern or colourway on the front and back to add interest, or make like a Victorian lady and create a decoupage with samples. Cut out motifs from a range of samples to create a collage or use sample squares for a patchwork effect. Seal your design with a layer of PVA or varnish. Screens are great to hide messy office areas or to zone your bedroom. Facing the panels with corkboard before papering creates a lovely backdrop for pinning photographs.

5. Stretching over canvases

This is a fun way to create artwork for your room and there’s nothing more satisfying than using a staple-gun. Again PVA will ensure it sticks well. Take care folding at the corners to get a tidy finish, using a staple-gun at the back. If you’re papering a feature wall, placing canvases on the opposite wall gives the room a pleasing symmetry. If, like me, you’re cripplingly indecisive, canvases allow you to go for more than one colourway. Place canvases in a second colourway over your papered wall to animate the look.

6. Framing

Another way to create artwork, framing wallpaper is great if you live in a rented house or you’re on a tight budget. Framing allows you to take the wallpaper with you, and using large samples saves you buying a whole roll. Again you can play around with patterns and colourways, with three or four variations framed in a row. If you’re papering a feature wall, pick out your favourite motifs to enhance through framing, drawing together your scheme and making the most of the wallpaper.

7. Combining different wallpapers

The key to using different papers on the walls of one room is to create some kind of dialogue between the two. Go for either the same pattern in a different colourway or a different pattern picking out some or all of the colours of the first wallpaper. A plain, slightly textured wallpaper in one of the colours of the first also works very well to unify your scheme. A simple way to combine wallpapers is to use a different print in any alcoves in the room. This works to enhance the formal qualities of the space and makes a natural break between the two papers.

wallpaper
Florimund Wallcoverings: Cabriole Gold wallpaper, £43 per 10m roll, with bed covering in Tancredi Silk, £91 per metre, Designers Guild [www.designersguild.com]

8. Combining wallpaper and paint

When choosing a paint colour, always get tester pots and place your wallpaper sample against the painted area to judge the effect. Picking out one of the colours in your wallpaper to use on painted areas works well. Use the background colour for a subtle look or one of the colours from the motif for a more striking effect. For an even more dramatic look, choose a contrasting paint colour that speaks to the wallpaper in a different way. Think about the balance you want to create between the wallpaper and paint, choosing a lighter paint colour if you want to give the wallpaper greater prominence.

9. Wallpaper murals

You can get really fantastic results with wallpaper murals. A single image across a whole wall makes a fabulous feature with instant impact. Transform your space with architectural photographs, antique maps, botanical drawings, and even fine art reproductions. Surface View [http://www.surfaceview.co.uk] has a great selection of ready to roll murals, including written text and anatomical drawings, available in permanent and peel-off varieties. With a huge image library Digetex [http://www.digetex.com] create and install bespoke murals, researching your chosen theme if you can’t find what you want.

10. Headboards

Papering a tired wooden headboard or creating your own with MDF can transform your bedroom into a sumptuous boudoir. Choose a high paper grade with a flock surface or a textured weave to give a quality feel. For a really opulent look, follow the width or your bed and paper the wall behind it. Wallpapering kid’s headboards, and getting them to help, is a great way to introduce colour and pattern to the room and create a sense of fun at bedtime.

Buyers guide to... Storage

baskets and container
Four drawer rattan basket rack, £82, The Orchard

Don’t ignore that stack of magazines on your floor; de-clutter your home and your mind with some simple storage solutions from Furnish.

Use this opportunity to have a bit of a spring clean, and look at the potential your room has for storage space to fit a new elegant wardrobe, or a unique coffee table. Remember that storage isn’t simply for hiding those cluttered objects that lie around your house, it can also serve as a much more stylish and functional feature of your home.

Clothing storage

We are all guilty of getting our knickers in a twist when we can’t find something we want to wear. So, whether you have something stylish but small, or a walk-in wardrobe (we can all dream, right?), where we store our clothes should be a reflection of our lifestyle. Lombok’s stylish Keraton wardrobe has an alluring colonial look which brings a unique statement piece to your bedroom. Not only does it contain a full-width hanging rail, it also has two large drawers at the base of the wardrobe. Alternatively, for a charming furniture piece that would add a perfect feminine touch to your room, the Amelie two drawer chest from Brissi offers practical drawer space for folded garments. For long-term storage, the Kigoma trunk from Holding Company is a suitable place for keeping garments that you are putting away for the next winter.

Sideboards

Simple and effective, the sideboard is conventionally used in the dining room; however it also works well in hallways, living rooms, or bedrooms. Go for the vintage inspired look with the Miss Print sideboard; its chic finish will add a touch of intrigue. Choose the Shanxi sideboard from Puji in white to compliment a modern decor with its smooth linen white lacquer finish with wooden edging detail. It has distinctive brass handles giving it a hint of eastern exoticism, and with two cupboards and spacious draws it offers the potential for maximum storage space. The Tactile sideboard from Utility has a seamless finish, and purposely has no handles which would only add confusion to its understated appearance. This masculine look would work well in a bachelor’s pad as it provides a no-nonsense way for the male species to create a sleek look for their decor without damaging any manly pride.

Kitchen dressers/larders

For the perfect place for you to store your finest tableware, Lombok’s Traditional glass dresser in dark teak gives that idyllic country house feel. Install it in your kitchen or dining room and there’s no need to hideaway your favourite tableware. With a display with two glass shelves for your cookery books, and drawers for table linen, this dresser not only gives a sense of pride to any kitchen, it also offers a functional and timeless charm to your home. Zenith basket trolleys from Heal’s are made from sturdy chrome wire, and they are ideal for keeping fresh fruit and vegetables as well as kitchen utensils in order.

Multifunctional furniture

Making the most of your storage is essential. Many furniture pieces available on Furnish are multifunctional and offer you space-saving opportunities to use throughout your home. Take a look at the Multi-Purpose Play table with Trundle Drawers from Great Little Trading Company. This cleverly compact play table is exciting to look at, not only does it provide your child with great fun and entertainment that will keep them occupied for hours. It also offers convenient storage space for toys and game that might otherwise clutter the floor or simply get lost in the chaos. Also, the Military coffee table from Occa Home is attractive stained oak wood coffee table but is also provides an easy-to-reach resting place magazines, books or vases. Its discreet drawers make it simple for you to store other knick knacks like placemats or notebooks.

console table
Bone and Inlay console table, £745, Graham and Green

Console tables

Bring versatility to your home with a console table; coming in all shapes and sizes, they offer stylish storage and add interest. Unwelcome mess within your home can be solved with the Lloyd high-console from The White Company. This incredibly neat looking set of drawers would fit extremely well within a hallway, bathroom or a bedroom, and with its strong woven baskets it is ideal for storing all kinds of belongings from magazines to umbrellas, shoes or photos, or even the phone directory. If you like detail and character is your furniture then the very stylish Black & Bone Inlay Console Table from Graham & Green would be an asset to your home. This table is beautifully hand crafted and a unique one of a kind piece that is only worthy of your most personal and cared for belongings.

Wall hung storage

If you are short of floor space don’t despair because your walls can offer an extra storage space for you to play with. The Seletti Framed CD Notorious Shelf Gold from Heal's is a great example of how storage can be useful in an attractive way. This clever series of shelves looks like a work of art with its stunning gold frame and ultra-modern box shelves. It provides a perfect balance of practicality and style. Add intrigue and a conversation starter to your room with the unique Sticklebook invisible bookshelf from Utility, which works using a combed strip that grips the covers and pages. Its deceptive powers make your mind believe the illusion that your books are floating in thin air- guaranteed to give the wow factor.

Shoe racks

Shoes are a girl’s best friend (well, after diamonds that is) and if you love your shoes then you shouldn’t be without Utility’s Floor standing shoe rack. It is the perfect design for keeping shoes tucked away neatly in cupboards without them getting crushed. However, it does only hold up to seven pairs so you may want to consider the Expandable shoe racks from Holding Company. Take advantage of the two expandable and stackable shoe racks made from classic chrome for a practical and easily accessible home for your shoes- you never know, there may be room to fit a few new pairs in too.

Kids storage

Any parent will empathise with how easily a child’s bedroom can suddenly look like a hurricane has just hit it. Children’s furniture by Great Little Trading Company is designed specifically for the helping parent and their children to live a mess free but fun life. The Horizontal six drawer unit provides accessible storage for toys and books that get frequently used, and they also encourage your child to tidy up after themselves. Ideal for use either in a playroom or bedroom, the Dolls house bookcase has three shelves and six compartments making it easier to store books, games or toys. Also, under the bed is a great place to store frequently unused items out of sight without taking up any extra floor space.

sideboards and display cabinet
Shanxi white sideboard, £789, Puji

Kitchen utensil storage

Make preparing and cooking in your kitchen more enjoyable with suggestions of storage for your kitchen utensils from Furnish. Heal’s has a collection of items to help organise you utensils, and the modern style of the Simplehuman utensil holder with a removable spoon rest will give any kitchen a futuristic feel. However, if you would rather give your kitchen a retro feel than be rocketed into the future, then you should choose the Typhoon vintage kitchen utensil holder available in black, white and red. Typhoon has taken inspiration from kitchens from the early 1930’s to 50’s, and you can find their enamelled range of kitchenware on Furnish.

Bathroom storage

Let’s face it; we all spend a little longer pampering ourselves in the bathroom than we like to admit. With the right storage, life will be made easier in the mornings when the fight for the bathroom can get nasty! For an ideal way to save space and time, you can keep ‘his and hers’ toiletries separate with try the Four drawer Rattan basket rack from The Orchard. The Contemporary Home has come up with a practical solution to the problem of where to keep your toothbrush with the Suction toothbrush holder. This no fuss holder sticks to your bathroom tiles, with no drilling required, and the least mess made. Or in case of an emergency, no bathroom would be complete without a First aid box from wheredidyoubuythat.com. This cabinet is wall mountable or it can be used free-standing, but either way it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Royal College of Art SHOW 2010

ornament
'Memory of a Figurine', one of a series of three by Hanne Mannheimer, silkscreen printed stoneware, £400, www.hannemannheimer.com

An inspiring sunny afternoon at the RCA graduate SHOW

I managed to sneak out yesterday to visit part one of the Royal College of Art end of year SHOW, including ceramics, metalwork and glass. And I’m mightily glad I made it, because not only did I spy (and not so inconspicuously point out) the subject of my long-held style crush, Sir Paul Smith; but I discovered some fabulously beautiful objects and inspiring makers. The whole afternoon made me want to get my hands on some clay and throw it and thump it about, but having neither the means nor the skill, I went to the pub to cool down and collect myself.

In the ceramics section references to the 18th century abounded, which, being the flamboyant glory years of porcelain production, isn’t really surprising but underpinned some innovative and highly original outcomes. Sun Ae Kim’s playful monochrome dinner service alludes to 18th century porcelain figurines used as talking points at the dinner table, reworking them into 21st century narratives of seduction and satire. Images manipulated from ceramic pattern books of past centuries are combined with saucy hidden surprises on the underside of plates and bowls. Amy Hughes’ gloriously tactile vases hark back to urns produced by the Royal Sèvres Porcelain factory, but allow the clay of which they’re made to break free from the constraints of their refined predecessors. The textured body speaks of the hands that shaped it and the unrefined surface richness of the clay itself, a celebration of material qualities and craft that retains the decadence of the original.

vases and bowl
'Cracked Rim' bowl by Hanne Enemark, blown glass with 22ct gold, small £200, medium £425, large £600, www.hanneenemark.com

In a similar way, Hanne Mannheimer’s beguiling series of plates, ‘Memory of a Figurine’, combines the roughnesses and unrefined qualities of clay with refined decorative details of silkscreen-printed 18th century figures; detailing which reduces in sharpness as the ‘memory’ fades. This concept of unfinished and unrefined edges was another trope running though both ceramics and glass. Hanne Enemark’s ‘Cracked Rim’ series of fabulously heavy blown-glass bowls has to be my favourite of the glass students’ work. The uneven rims have a deliciously thick coating of gold, which looks like it might begin to drip into the clear glass bowls. In metalwork, I loved Victoria Delany’s, Brio-inspired, ‘Candlestack’. With a solid-silver top and base, you get a pack of lovely colourful wooden beads in different shapes and sizes that you can slot on in any configuration, creating your own bespoke candleholder.

furnish
'Information Ate My Table' by Zachary Eastwood-Bloom, beech, £2200, www.zacharyeastwood-bloom.co.uk

Elsewhere there were some fascinating experiments in digital design. Kathryn Hilton, on hand for a demonstration, uses a digital hammer and three-dimensional wax printing to create moulds for her beautiful multi-faceted, geometric silver bowls. And Zach Eastwood-Bloom’s work explores the interaction of the digital and the material worlds with truly stunning results. His wonderfully absurd coffee table in Beech wood, ‘Information Ate my Table’, describes a process by which the real and the virtual might collide, applying digital, binary information to a tangible, natural material. And my favourite piece of the whole exhibition, Zach’s ‘21st Century Landscape Tryptich’ was shown to full effect in yesterday’s sunshine, as the shadows on the faceted, highly textural surface changed throughout the afternoon. In white resin, it made a fabulous contrast hung against the geometric grey-black bricks of the courtyard wall.

All in all it was an utterly inspiring afternoon out. I only wish I could have persuaded Sir Paul to join me in the pub...

Living with Pattern

furnish
Embrace fabric collection, £50 per sqm, Harlequin

Whether you go for bold prints or intricate detailing, playing with pattern adds instant vitality to a decorative scheme.

Pattern is a great way to animate space and add interest to your home. Whether you go for bold prints or intricate detailing, playing with pattern adds instant vitality to a decorative scheme. And there are plenty out there to suit your style. Stir the senses with variations in scale and combinations of different patterns and textures.

Wallpaper

Patterned wallpaper brings drama to a dull room. Make an architectural statement with graphic geometric prints, or go for timeless elegance with traditional florals. Generally speaking, the smaller the wallpaper motif, the larger the room will appear. Vertical stripes will give the impression of higher ceilings, and if you have a narrow room think about hanging striped wallpaper horizontally to add width.

Large-scale pattern can work on all four walls of a room, but choosing a subtle colour palette will stop it from becoming oppressive. Similarly, intricate prints can look over-fussy if used unremittingly. Creating feature walls, hanging wallpaper in panels or using it as an accent in alcoves are often better options, broadening your scope for the scheme as a whole and allowing for greater flexibility.

Picking out the colours in the wallpaper and choosing shades from the same colour palette for soft furnishings, upholsteries and paint will unify your design. Designers Guild is particularly good on this, with complementary families of wallpapers, fabrics and even paint colours, enabling a mix and match approach to pattern, texture and tone. Zoffany and Harlequin also have fabulous ranges of coordinating wallpapers and fabrics. Colefax and Fowler is great for timeless prints, while Cole and Son have some fantastic tartans designed by Vivienne Westwood.

furnish
Puccini fabric collection, £75-£99 per metre, Zoffany

Flooring

Whether you choose wood, tiles or carpet, patterned flooring can transform a room. As with wallpapers, large-scale patterns generally look better on larger floors. A smaller scale pattern with a frequent repeat will look better in a smaller room. Again, pick out colours from the flooring to use elsewhere in your scheme. And if you’re going for a full-on floor pattern, let it speak for itself with plain and simple furnishings.

Parquet woodblock patterns range from the simple herringbone to the most intricate of geometric mosaics. Create a subtle pattern with parquet flooring in one type of wood or go for high drama with contrasting timbers. Weldon create beautifully crafted, bespoke parquet and marquetry floors, and Ardeco are parquet specialists with a great range of designs.

Stunning effects can be achieved with floor tiles, and the possibilities are limitless. Villa Lagoon [http://www.villalagoontile.com] has a fabulous range of floor designs with cement and ceramic tiles in all manner of patterns and colours. De Ferranti is unsurpassed for choice, with a vast product library spanning ceramic, encaustic and glass tiles, to leather, metal and bone. Tiled Perfection specialise in traditional Victorian and Edwardian geometric designs, and Fired Earth recently launched a range of encaustic tile patterns inspired by the 1951 Festival of Britain.

Patterned carpets are no longer the preserve of seafront hotels or granny’s front room. Crucial Trading has a stylish range of sophisticated stripes and grids in wool, and if you don’t want to go for full-colour, try a textured weave in seagrass, jute, or coir. For the commitment-phobic, rugs are a great alternative to permanent patterned flooring and can bring a room to life. The Rug Company and Christopher Farr are both outstanding on quality and design.

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Wool Mississippi in burgundy/blue, £52 per sqm, Crucial Trading

Soft Furnishings

There’s plenty of scope to experiment with pattern in your choice of soft furnishings. Layering different patterns, such as stripes and florals, works well if you stick to the same colour palette to bring the look together. Play around with variations in scale and texture to add a sense of movement and depth. Again, Designers Guild is fantastic on complementary, but not ‘matchy matchy’, soft furnishings and will upholster any of its stunning sofas to your specifications. A couple of cushions or a lampshade in the same pattern as your curtains, blinds or wallpaper will to draw together a decorative scheme without looking over-done. Go for sofas and armchairs in block colours if you’re using a lot of pattern elsewhere.

Have fun with pattern and bring your home to life. Go with your instincts and create an interior with personality and style.

Trend watch: Metallics

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Chloe Spring/Summer 2009 collection on the catwalk, image from Vogue.co.uk

Give your interior a sharp and dramatic look with metallics.

When metallics hit the catwalk they brought bright, bold, inspiring colours to the forefront of fashion. A common misconception about trends is that they are only acceptable and in-fashion for short periods of time, but the great quality that metallics have is that they filter into different aspects of decor to give a timeless and opulent feel to your home.

Metallics can be applied to your interior in so many ways because they ooze modernity and have a classic appearance, making them effortlessly pleasing to the eye. Use black and gold to create a dramatic statement, or use silver with pastel colours to give a more serene and natural feel to your room. Either way, go ahead and add shimmering detail and grandeur that fashion designers use so well in their clothes to dress your home.

If the rush of rich golds, silvers and bronzes on the catwalk has done anything to inspire interior design, it has certainly encouraged us to liven up neutral colour schemes with a splash of sparkle and glamour. For an accent wall in a bedroom, the fantastic Wilderness white gold wallpaper from 95% Danish will bring both texture and interest. For bed linen, try the Mink satin bedspread from The Contemporary Home to add an understated elegance and luxurious feel to your bedroom.

Take a peek at Chloe’s Spring/Summer 09 catwalk collection featuring lamé harem pants; the ‘heavy metal’ trend showcased a natural and radiant look. This use of stunning metallic shades can be dressed up or down in order to give a room a bold daytime look or a shimmering night time vibe. The Bean bag in gold leather from Heal’s has a luxurious gold finish making it perfect for a comfortable evening in, and the Small sequin cushion in silver from Rockett St George, are both perfect for achieving this thriving and versatile trend.

candle holder
Gold loop candelabra, £70, Black+Blum

Why not use metallic shades to give your home a look that retains an authentic style but brings a modern, glamorous look to your interior. The Orchard’s Gold Gilt Collection is inspired by classical French themes, and the Gold gilt two drawer bedside cabinet is finished in genuine gold leaf. If you fancy giving your guests an afternoon tea to remember, then look no further than the Silver tea caddy and the Silver tea strainer from Brissi. This is a nostalgic piece that is fit for the Queen and should make us feel proud to be British.

Metallic colours exude a finished look and are just the thing to bring a shiny, polished look to your home. Black and Blum’s Gold loop candelabra will provide your dining table with a stylish and stunning statement piece that will not fail to impress. Or, if you want to liven up your hallway or add a feminine touch to your living room, then choose the Flower loop for a minimal yet chic and individual piece that is inspired by the Fibonacci curve to create a balanced and aesthetically pleasing design.

wallpaper
Wilderness gold wallpaper, £59, 95% Danish

These are just some examples of how you can introduce the metallic trend into your home. Don’t get too carried away by mixing too many metallic pieces in one room; use them to add visual impact and a touch of elegance as a statement piece for your room. Choose a furniture piece like the Brass stools from Lombok, made from solid brass and finished in antique silver, or use detailed fabric with metallic gold beading found in Sweet Pea and Willow’s Paris gold and lilac tie backs to give a contemporary and stylish touch that no home should be without.

How to create... a cool kids bedroom

beds and bunk
Tilly and George bunk bed, £775, Great Little Trading Company

When decorating a kid’s room you can really be as imaginative as you want, and have some fun with the great choice of products available from Furnish.

Any parent will know just how difficult it can be to create a bedroom for their kids that will keep them happy and help them learn, whilst also maintaining that ‘cool’ status for when they have friends round.

Wallpaper is a feature that will determine the overall mood of a room, and if you want to go for something decorative and colourful, then Butterflies wallpaper from Lover's Lounge is a great choice for either a playful feature wall or to cover all four walls. Another imaginative way of decorating your children’s bedroom is with wall stickers; these offer the perfect alternative to wallpaper and can liven up a bland wall. I love that these can be both easily applied and simply removed if you or your child decide that you want a change. For example, Animal tower wall stickers from Lover's lounge are perfect for toddlers to measure their height as they grow.

coat racks and stand
Rainbow coat rack, £20, Great Little Trading Company

Storage is essentially one of the most important parts of a children’s bedroom; ultimately you will want to achieve a tidy room with accessible storage. The multi-purpose play table with trundle drawers from Great Little Trading Company is any parents’ dream because not only does it serve a practical solution with drawers for storing all your kid’s toys in, but it also provides a play table with different activities to choose from so your child won’t get bored. No longer will your child be afraid of the dark with Plug in Night Lights from Great Little Trading Company; these are a safe and simple way of ensuring a good night’s sleep all round. Any cool kid’s bedroom would also not be complete without a ceiling light, such as Twit Twoo from Hunkydory Home, which has a colourful print and gorgeous owl design.

If you have children sharing the same room but want to create space then bunk beds are a good solution, they give you more space and kids love them. The Tilly and George bunk bed from Great Little Trading Company is ideal for a cool kid’s bedroom because it has a modern design made from traditional wood providing a sturdy sleeping place. Themed bunk beds are also a very popular choice. For furnishing a children’s room but still keeping it fun, the Magis Plastic Puppy from Utility is a great seat to keep in their bedroom. You may want to have a couple of these in different colours so that their friends can join in too.

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Twit Twoo, £30, Hunkydory Home

Children’s accessories are often the most imaginative and creative part of a room, and are the best way to encourage your child to learn but enjoy it at the same time. The magnetic Blackboard clock from Great Little Trading Company allows you to write in your own numbers, timings or reminders, and this way kids can become more independent in remembering what activities they are doing and when. When starting school kids will need to be organised and so functional accessories like the Rainbow Coat Rack from Great Little Trading Company will help them keep their coat and bags tidy.

In a sense, the greatest freedom you have with decorating and furnishing a cool kid’s bedroom is that there are no strict rules, although fun and practicality should merge to give the room the best potential for your child to enjoy playing as much as learning.

Arched Window Mirror from Graham & Green

mirror
Arched Window Mirror, £166, Graham & Green

Get some light on the scene with this Arched Window Mirror from Graham & Green, £166.

This fantastic Arched Window Mirror can be used inside to give the illusion of looking into another room, or outside to give the impression of a bigger garden. It’s a bit Alice in Wonderland, which is why I like it so much. And I’ve always wanted to live in a house with arched windows.

Fabulous in a hallway or above a fireplace it looks wonderful propped against the wall, reflecting light back into the room. And outside in the garden it’ll create a lovely courtyard feel. It’s got the look of architectural salvage about it, but with a metal frame and wood effect finish, it won’t degrade outside.

mirror
Fabulous leaning against a wall, you get a lot of mirror for your money

Standing at over a metre tall and almost a metre wide, you get a lot of mirror for your money. The same thing from a reclamation yard would be more or less double the price.

Our weekly pick of interior blogs...

desk
Art Deco inspired interior by From the Desk of Lola, on Domicidal Maniac

We’ve been roaming the highways and byways of the internet for inspirational interiors blogs, and we haven’t come home empty-handed.

Top of the list of picturesque pit stops this week is the fabulously titled Domicidal Maniac. The maniac in question is Washington-based interior designer and window dresser, Scott Fanzzini. This is window-shopping in the virtual world, with inspiration at every turn: new designers, envy inducing interiors, style crushes and all manner of good-looking things (including Mr Fanzzini, I might add). He’s also got a penchant for old movies – check out his post celebrating the set designs on How To Marry a Millionaire.

Next stop on the scenic route is Diary of a Wandering Eye. Another American boy with eclectic tastes, this anonymous blogger will lead you on a wanton chase through a landscape of visual delights. The Covet section left me slack-jawed with desire, especially for Greg Kulharic’s ceramic vegetable pots. Whoever this wandering eye belongs to it knows where to look. And with a jaunty writing style, the hand’s not bad either. The boy’s got style in spades – just look at the fantasy musings and scrapbook photos in the My Future Home series.

chandelier
Beautiful tiles in Le Chandelier teashop, East Dulwich, on Tea for Joy

Back in Blighty, there’s time to stop off for a pot of Earl Grey and a cucumber sandwich with Lynne at Tea for Joy. Dedicated to two of my favourite things – tea and vintage - this one’s right up my street. And it really is a joy to behold – a reverie of teashops and teacups, patterns and prints, fifties furniture and beautiful British designs.

That’s it for this week, but remember, if you write your own interiors blog get in touch and we’ll flag it up next time.

How to create... a glamorous bedroom

chandelier
Mimi Mimi chandelier, £185, The French Bedroom Company

Many of us aspire to have a more glamorous boudoir that exudes style and comfort. We advise how you can use different elements to pull it together.

The first step is to start experimenting with colours, for example, pastel colours create a natural and calming feel in a bedroom. However, you should not be afraid to be more adventurous with colour, particularly when choosing your furniture and accessories, to make a bold statement.

Wallpaper can be the perfect backdrop to portray the romantic mood in a bedroom. True Blue wallpaper from BODIE and FOU is a perfect example of how your walls can ignite some passion and excitement into your bedroom. The high quality gold pigment gives a shimmery effect and a warm feel, which works well with earthy tones and with a few candles lit will create a romantic mood. If you want to create a feature wall in a bedroom, this works particularly well behind the bed as it draws your attention, and it allows you to set the theme of you room. Floral patterns are a great way to add a feminine touch to a room, or an intricate design like Sparrow wallpaper from 95% Danish adds detail and pattern to your decor.

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Chateau carved bed, £630, Lover’s Lounge

French-style, mirrored or ornate bedroom furniture is essential for a glamorous look. From bedside tables to wardrobes, you can choose to go big and bold or small and elegant, but either way you cannot fail to make your room more enchanting. Your bed will essentially be the focal point of your room, and so choosing one that has beautiful detailing such as the French provincial style Chateau carved bed from Lover's Lounge, will instantly give your boudoir a glamorous look. Accompany your bed with the hand painted Verona Silver Leaf bedside table from Sweet Pea and Willow, or a dressing table, to give you storage but in a way that does not look cluttered, and keeps the theme of glamour running through your room. For a sense of glamour, soft textures such as suede, silk or faux fur, or velvet are always a great way to make your room feel luxurious. Add a sumptuous and cosy feel to your bedroom with the Velvet quilt in Mulberry from Lombok, which would be the ideal feature to bring out pastel colours in your wallpaper. What better way to add glamour to you room than with sequins which can be on throws, bedspreads or cushions, like the small silver sequin cushion from Rockett St George. I love this cushion because it combines fun and style, and ties together the theme of luxury and comfort.

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Small silver sequin cushion, £29.95, Rockett St George

Finally, the key to a glamorous bedroom is mood lighting; to create a romantic setting choose a chandelier like Mimi Mimi Chandelier from The French Bedroom Company, which is ideal for smaller rooms. Ceiling lights can be hung over the bed and to illuminate all the best features in your room. Subtle lighting can create a romantic mood, and also give a dramatic feel of grandeur and elegance. Or if you’d prefer a free standing light to brighten up a corner, then why not choose something unique like the Miro Floor lamp from Tom Faulkner, with its hand finished silver leaf pattern.

Stamp Collection Mugs from Utility

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'Sent with Love' Stamp Collection Mug

Earl Grey’s in first class company with these Stamp Collection Mugs from Utility. £10.95

Featuring the iconic image of the Queen on UK stamps, these striking mugs have vindicated my pastime. Stamp collecting is officially cool.

I don’t mind admitting that I collected stamps as a child and I still save envelopes if I like the designs. So I felt just a little bit smug when I saw these Stamp Collection Mugs from Utility. Representing the best of graphic design in miniature, I don’t even know why stamp collecting is seen as such a turn off.

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'First Class' Stamp Collection Mug

But anyway, rather than go on a rant I’ll let the mugs speak for themselves. Choose from the ‘Sent with Love’ version featuring the classic red first class stamp in a repeat pattern, or go large with a single stamp on the front and back of the ‘First Class’ version. And if you still don’t believe in the inherent coolness of stamps, check out the fabulous original colours on the different denominations wrapping round the ‘Multi Stamp’ mug.

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'Multi Stamp' Stamp Collection Mug

Put the kettle on and have a first class cuppa.

Living with the colour white

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Eames RAR (rocking armchair rod base), £365, Vitra at Occa Home

Reflecting light, stretching space, and revealing architectural form, a judicious application of white can quietly make a room express its full potential.

Applied to the walls or floor, white provides a silent surface on which anything goes.

White is as much a friend to poky rooms and dark corners as to grand, sun-filled studios. And you don’t have to be an obsessive minimalist to enjoy it. Used in the right way, white will make space for the red wine drinker and the sticky fingered kid.

Living with White and Kids

While all vinyl matt paints are wipeable to an extent, Dulux Endurance is extra hardwearing and washable without loss of colour. Developed to deal with kids horsing around at home, Dulux also recommend the Endurance range ‘if you fancy yourself as a bit of party animal’.

With their arsenal of crayons, if you’ve got young children and you want to go in for white furnishings, it’s wise to choose sofas and armchairs with removable covers. The Sorrento range at John Lewis has removable and machine-washable covers, in a classic Jacquard stripe. At Ikea, the majority of fabric sofas and armchairs have removable, washable, and replaceable covers (just don’t take the kids with you). Bemz also create bespoke covers to fit Ikea’s most popular sofas and chairs.

White can be great for kids’ bedrooms, particularly if space is an issue. With white walls and furniture as a base, introduce colour through accessories. The Little White Company offers simple, good quality white furniture. For the design-conscious child, the iconic (and wipe-clean) Panton chair comes in a diminutive ‘junior’ size, while for toddlers the Eames Elephant makes a cheerful companion. And if you’re getting up for night feeds, an Eames rocker might just make it more bearable.

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Jonathan Adler Ceramic Turtle Box, £130, Heal’s

Making White Work

From walls and floors, to furnishing and accessories, the key to making white work is in your choice of materials. Whether you want to create an all-white house or use white sparingly as an accent, engaging the senses with variations in texture, natural materials, mirrors and lighting, will prevent white from becoming alienating and clinical. Sculptural plants cast dramatic shadows against white walls, for example, while mirrors enhance the capacity of white to highlight structural detailing.

Paintwork: For walls and ceilings, choose paint with a chalky, soft matt texture to avoid a glaring finish. The Little Greene Paint Company’s Acrylic Matt Emulsion is particularly good, while their ULTIMATT® formula is also washable. For wood and metalwork a high gloss finish makes a striking contrast, but if you want something softer, go for a lower sheen with silk or eggshell. Little Greene’s Acrylic Eggshell gives a subtle sheen to complement matt walls.

Flooring: White walls look fantastic against the rich tones of a real wood floor. The Natural Wood Floor Company has a beautiful selection, but if you want a white floor and you’re lucky enough to have floorboards in good condition, try Ecos Organic's hardwearing floor paint. Floor tiles are also a great way to achieve a white finish using natural materials. The Limestone Gallery will cut and finish their extensive range to your specifications. A rug in bleached cowhide or with variation in pile depth will add another layer of texture to the room.

Soft Furnishings: The White Company has layering pretty much sewn up, with a sumptuous range of cushions and throws in cashmere and chunky knits, hand-quilted cotton and silk, each with individual textural details. White leather can look stunning, but to avoid the Miami effect, go for a design classic like Robin Day’s Forum sofa. Reissued by Habitat, the wooden side panels in ash or walnut soften the bright white Italian leather.

Accessories: Anything geometric or highly textured will take advantage of the striking contrasts of light and shade achieved in white. JDS Architects’ crushed bowls are particularly impressive, while the quirky and tactile pottery animals in Jonathan Adler’s Menagerie add a sense of frivolity to a highly styled white home. A faceted Asteroid table lamp by Koray Ozgen will refract light across white walls, and the corrugated shades on George Nelson’s wall sconces, reissued by Modernica, invite interesting shadows.

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Crushed Bowl by JDS Architects, bone china, from £36

The Off-Whites

If you don’t want to go all in for brilliant white, the off-white palette is softer and more forgiving, particularly in period homes. Fired Earth and Farrow and Ball offer excellent choice in off-whites and subtle shades. Particularly lovely are Bone White at Fired Earth and Pale Powder at Farrow and Ball. For wood and metalwork go for a brilliant white gloss to create a contrast or for a complementary look, go two shades lighter or two shades darker than the walls. A brilliant white ceiling will make the room feel larger. Choose accessories and soft furnishings in varying tones in the off-white palette for a calm and relaxing space. The Rug Company has a particularly good collection of cushions, wallhangings and pale carpets.

Living with white can be liberating, stylish and practical. Have a go, and if the worst happens, it’s the easiest colour to paint over.

Our weekly roundup of interiors blogs

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A feature wall of decorative plates on Simply Seleta

It's that time again where we pick out our favourite interiors blogs from around the globe.

First up this week is all-American blog Simply Seleta. Full of ideas for creative interiors projects and illustrated with beautiful photographs, it’s a really uplifting read (as long as you’re not the jealous type – check out these beach photos). The work of a designer mom of four, it’s a lifestyle blog with an emphasis on homemaking, daydreaming, and taking inspiration from daily life. But expect to find a bit of everything – this lady is real magpie. Taking in yard sales, road trips, and all kinds of interiors, you could spend all day on here, living the American dream vicariously.

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Saint Cecilia Hotel, Austin, Texas, on Carolina Eclectic

In my American dream I’m a cowboy on a wild-west ranch, but failing that I’ll settle for this amazing Texan castle posted on Carolina Eclectic. If you’re a bit of voyeur when it comes to other people’s homes (I failed my driving test by looking into living rooms rather than at the road), then the ‘Look Inside’ section of this blog is perfect. You get to follow Carolina into wherever she’s been, wallow in the photographs and pick up some ideas along the way.

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Recently reissued, La Lampe Gras (1921) by French engineer Bernard-Albin Gras, on House of Beauty and Culture

The final pick this week is the fabulously camp House of Beauty and Culture. This catty post on Gerard Butler’s dubious design choices can’t fail to amuse. With a ‘now playing’ note beneath most posts, and a play list spanning Rick Astley and Kate Bush to Mahler and Nick Cave, the content is just as eclectic, taking in auction finds (and disappointments), design icons rediscovered, out of print interiors books and new exhibitions. I love this cultural rundown of 1979.

As always, if you write your own design blog, get in touch and we’ll give you a nod next time.

How to buy... Vintage Furniture

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Ply Stacking Chairs, £75 + VAT each, Retrouvius

Avoid the pitfalls and embrace the competitive spirit with our guide to buying vintage furniture.

Avoiding any kind of exercise regime, I prefer to engage in the competitive sports of auction bidding and car-boot bartering. There’s nothing like spotting a beautifully designed piece of vintage furniture to get the heart racing and bring out the covetous side of my nature. Only recently, I clambered past the hoards at a village jumble sale to buy a fantastic 1970s chrome-framed armchair for a mere five pounds. And I’m still regretting not having bought for myself the sleek Danish sideboard I found for a friend at auction: the hindrance of a small flat, but at least I get visiting rights.

Love, as they say, is blind, and the one-of-a-kind allure of vintage furniture - a gloriously tapered leg or a perfectly proportioned handle – is often so entrancing that it leads to rashness and blinds us to flaws. Whether it’s paying over the odds or succumbing to false advertising, when the panic of ‘I’ll never see another’ sets in, mistakes are easily made. So to avoid the pitfalls here are our top tips:

Buying at auction

Check the auction house policy regarding:

  • Commission – the percentage you pay on top of the hammer price
  • Item collection – you will be charged a storage fee if you fail to collect on time, so make sure you have transport sorted before placing any bids
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Tomado Sheving Unit, £225, The Peanut Vendor

Do your research:



  • Even if the sale has an illustrated online catalogue, always view in the flesh – all auction houses have viewing days before the sale

  • Find out previous hammer prices on similar items – this will help you work out the market value and set your bidding limit (remembering to factor in the commission)

Bidding methods:



  • In person - the auctioneer will always aim to start the bidding as high as possible so wait until the price has dropped before you raise your paddle (or your eyebrow)

  • Absentee bidding - if you can’t make the sale or if, like me, you’re likely to get carried away in the room, placing an absentee bid is a good option. However, be aware that the room always takes precedence over any bids on the auctioneer’s book. The onus is on you to check with the auction house after the sale to find out if you’re the highest bidder

  • Telephone bidding - the auction house will ring you when your item is up, so keep the line free and stay glued to the phone. Many auctions also provide the option of internet bidding, again in real time

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Rosewood Sideboard, £895, Danish Homestore

Buying on Ebay

  • Be wary of item descriptions with phrases like ‘Merrow style’ or ‘Eames era’ – if the item is by a particular designer, the seller should provide a photograph of the maker’s label or other such verification
  • Always read the full description - if an item is stated as in ‘good condition for its age’, it’s worth asking the seller to clarify, with object-specific questions about damage
  • Ensure that the photographs depict the actual item for sale and haven’t been swiped off the internet – this can happen with iconic designs

Buying from a shop

  • Build up a rapport with the owners - many independent vintage shops are willing to bargain, especially if you’re buying more than one item and if you’re paying in cash
  • It’s worth putting an item on hold in order to do some research or, in my case, to have a lie down in a darkened room

Finally, if you’re buying at car-boots or jumbles, all I can say is hone those bartering skills and get your elbows at the ready. Happy hunting…

Blooming Bench from Benchmark

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Add a quirky twist to your garden with the Blooming Bench from Benchmark. £377

People often look amazed when I tell them I live in London AND have a garden. I can’t blame them, it’s one of those statements that are often met with oohs and ahhs by fellow metropolis-dwellers.

And while it isn’t exactly Kew, it is wonderful to have some outdoor space to relax in and call my own.

Due to the impending heat wave (yeah right!) I’ve been thinking a lot of summer parties, family barbecues and cosy al fresco suppers for two, but what I would really like is a piece of statement furniture to give my garden an edge.

Sadly, it’s too small an amazing daybed or stunning swing but I’ll certainly be making room for this Blooming Bench from Benchmark.

dining bench

Designed by Benchmark’s in-house team, this bench cleverly incorporates a large terracotta pot into its design. Absolutely perfect for those who don’t have space for both, the bench is made from Oak and the pot from terracotta.

It is without a doubt the most original bench I have seen for some time and I can’t wait to get in my garden.

It's our favourite interiors blogs...

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The Maison Moschino hotel. Image from Her Little Place.

Time for one of my favourite times of the week as we share some of the hottest blogs around to feed your appetite for interiors.

It’s always reassuring to know that people are just as nuts about interiors as us so if you have a blog no matter how simple or grand, let us know and if we love it we’ll feature it too. So, here goes with this week’s round up.

First up is former Guardian journalist Huma Quereshi’s blog Her Little Place. We love reading it for inspiration and also to look at really pretty things which let’s face it makes life a whole lot better sometimes. Perfect for an escapist read, we loved Huma showing us round the latest hip hotel in Milan, Maison Moschino. Huma also has an online boutique selling the cutest greetings cards and more importantly cookies. Definitely one to watch, Her Little Place could easily be the next Design*Sponge of the blog world. Just remember you heard it here first.

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Photo from Lisa Stickley's new book. Image from Home Shopping Spy.

Home Shopping Spy is penned by the journalists of Ideal Home and proves that being mainstream doesn’t mean being dull or straight. In fact, we could all learn something from the people behind the UK’s best selling homes magazine. Covering everything from the latest homes accessories to a post showcasing Lisa Stickley’s new book, it’s a must-read for anyone who loves their home.

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Control-alt-delete cushions. Image from Design Squish.

I like being eco-friendly as much as the next person (that’s not strictly true as I’m rubbish at recycling, leave my Sky+ box on standby daily and my flat often resembles Blackpool Illuminations) but am not keen on hemp and recycling tyres into pasta bowls which is why I was delighted to come across Design Squish. This blog is heavy on eco but also heavy on style too.

Our weekly choice of interiors blogs

It’s time for our weekly fix of interiors blogs, where we share some of the best with you to feed your interiors obsession even more.

Another trip stateside with our first choice; Apartment Therapy. Having access to Apartment Therapy is like having a free pass across all the major US cities. A friend introduced me to AP a while back when we should have been reading proofs for a magazine. Full of super useful advice and gorgeous products, we love the way you can flick between East and West coast and back again. One of our fave recent posts is this one about a mid-century modern armoire which we found in “New York” and because we’re really nosey we love the house tours too. Well, who wouldn’t?

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Ottoman slip cover. Image via Design*Sponge.

Design*Sponge is like the Godfather of interior and design blogs, the Marlon Brando if you will; head honcho: The Boss - ok I think you get the impression. Grace Bonney started Design*Sponge way back in 2004 and since then it’s gained a loyal following of dedicated readers. We love the DIY section which is far more craft fair than B&Q and our pick of these gorgeous makes is the Ottoman Slip Cover project which offers the perfect way to update an old footstool.

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Bathroom signs from Mooza Designs in Australia. Image via Decor8.

Decor8 is another one of those blogs that you could spend hours browsing just for the gorgeous design alone, but thankfully the content is spot on too. We were super pleased to find these cute bathroom signs and love the Etsy Take Five Tuesdays for finding beautifully made homewares and other accessories that you can guarantee will get your friends saying “oooh where did you find that?”

As always let us know what you think and even better if you write your own blog, get in touch and tell us about it.

Nautical Life Ring cushion from Great Little Trading Company

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It’ll be bedtime stories of pirates and the high seas with this fun nautical cushion from Great Little Trading Company. £15.50

I’ve mentioned before that the nautical trend is huge this season. Everything from fabrics to accessories has been given a seaside feel with striped cushions everywhere you look.

And now it seems the little ones are getting in on the act as I seem to have seen about a million (ok, possibly a slight exaggeration) nautical-themed kids products in the last week.

One of my favourites without a doubt is this super cute life saver cushion from Great Little Trading Company.

Made from soft cotton, it’s the perfect thing for adding some seafaring charm to a little person’s nursery or playroom.

This week's pick of the interiors blogs - March 2010

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Photo by Francois Halard for May 2008 issue of Vogue, via Habitually Chic

We’re crossing the Atlantic this week in search of some of the hottest interior design blogs around and look what we found with a few clicks...

While we’re obviously happy to be in dear old Blighty (after all we do have some of the coolest interior designers around), we love to take a trip across the pond from time to time.

Now we don’t have to worry about expensive airfares or decanting our make up into see-through bags as we can travel there virtually. Habitually Chic is one of our favourite stateside blogs as author Heather Clawson takes us on a tour of all things cool and American. We particularly enjoyed sneaking a peek at this LA home.

Another of our favourite blogs stateside is the elegant Simply Grove written by cool girl Kirsten Grove. We adore the Three Things To Love section and the chance to have a sneaky look at Kirsten’s beautiful home but what really pleased us was the introduction to Omni, a great furniture design company based in Arizona – we’ve got our fingers crossed that they’ll be shipping to the UK soon.

Kate from California writes the simple yet highly informative interiors blog Girl Meets Glamour. An interior designer by trade, it’s not surprise that Kate knows a thing or two about how to make homes look fab. We particularly enjoyed reading about panelling in rooms and it’s got us reaching for wood, nails and a hammer (or at least the phone to call a decent carpenter...)

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Photo from Southern Accents September 2008, via Girl Meets Glamour

Should we be writing about your blog? Have you got exceptional writing skills and an amazing eye for interior design? Let us know and if we like your stuff we’ll add it to our blog roll.

This week's pick of the interiors blogs - 20 March 2010

It's our new pick of the interiors blogs, where we showcase some of the hottest blogs around.

You probably know by now that we’re obsessed with all things interiors. We live, sleep and dream our homes and adore furniture, cushions, art and gadgets. In fact we’re never happier then when we’re browsing magazines, brochures and blogs. Which is why we thought we should share our finds with you. Kicking off a new series, we introduce, drum roll please... ...our fave interiors blogs!

This is where, each week, we showcase some of the hottest blogs around and we were delighted to find there are, like us, lots of interiors enthusiasts out there. So, expect to see some blogs you may not know about, including picks from outside the UK.

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Our favourite blogs

The Beat That My Heart Skipped is a truly beautifully designed blog. Interior stylist and writer Rohini Wahi shares her thoughts on the world of interiors, from highlighting some of the coolest and most stylish products around to fascinating sections such as My Inside Life and A Day With. This blog is a must-read for anyone who likes their home to be stylish.

There’s nothing dull about the Bright Bazaar blog and the beautiful, colourful photography reminds us of much sunnier days than the ones we’ve been experiencing of late. Author Will shows off some of the hottest interiors finds around, as well as carefully taking us on a tour of homes that have got us salivating.

For our next fave blog, we move Stateside and dive into the world of MadeByGirl. A beautifully designed and written blog, MadeByGirl gives us an insight into the world of Jennifer Ramos as she writes about interiors, food and fashion. Jennifer’s talents don’t end there though – she also has an Etsy store selling super cute prints.

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Our favourite blogs

Silver chain chandelier from Tigermoth Lighting

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Add some drama with this impressive chandelier from Tigermoth Lighting. From £1,498.

Lighting on the whole is practical. We kinda need it otherwise we’d constantly walk around bumping into things – yes I know that’s stating the bleedin’ obvious.

But that doesn’t mean lighting can’t be beautiful as well.

There are lots of beautiful table lamps, pendants and wall lights about – a lot of them right here on Furnish - but we think we’ve fallen in love with Tigermoth Lighting. Their decadent and unusual range features beautiful pendants and chandeliers made from exquisite crystals that are guaranteed to create a show-stopping centrepiece in any room.

chandelier

We’re especially taken with the chain range which includes pendants and chandeliers made from long strands of black or silver chain as shown in this dramatic three-tier chandelier.

Perfect for use in any room, we think it would look fab in a hallway with a high ceiling to make a truly elegant entrance to your home.

See this product at Tigermoth Lighting...

(We don’t sell this product yet but sign up to our newsletter and we’ll let you know if/when we do)